Pittsburgh Penguins Fall Behind in Series as Offense Comes Up Short


After their four-goal offensive outburst in Game Two, the Pittsburgh Penguins were dropped 2-1 by the New York Rangers in Game Three of the Eastern conference quarterfinals, giving the Rangers an identical 2-1 lead in the teams’ series.

The series has proven to be one of inches, with both teams fighting to gain an edge in what have been three very close contests.

New York’s speed proved to be that edge in Game Three, seen most notably in the Rangers’ first goal.

Just over eight and a half minutes into the first period, Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle hit Carl Hagelin with a stretch pass through the neutral zone. Hagelin sprinted towards Marc-Andre Fleury as soon as the puck hit his stick, wiring in a low slapshot to open the game’s scoring.

Pittsburgh managed only three shots in the first period, and things got worse in the second stanza as Rangers forward Chris Kreider gave New York a 2-0 lead, burying a rebound off a point-shot from Marc Staal.

Heading into the third period having been outshot 19 to 11, the Pens were in dire need of an offensive spark.

Hard-nosed winger Patric Hornqvist stepped up in that regard, fighting off numerous Rangers defensemen to slam in a rebound past Henrik Lundqvist.

The Pens battled hard for the tying tally, outshooting New York 13 to 7 over the final period and coming close on numerous occasions, but Lundqvist managed to keep the puck out long enough for the Rangers to clinch a one-game series lead.

It’s a loss that is surely frustrating on many levels for Pittsburgh as they played a desperate game – outhitting the Rangers to the tune of 43-37 – but simply were unable to finish with the victory, most notably due to a subpar first period.

A few other notable numbers tell the story of the Pens’ loss, however, as Pittsburgh finished with five more giveaways than their opponent (racking up 8 to New York’s 3), while also finishing with more penalty minutes and fewer blocked shots.

That being said, the Pens were only inches away from getting the tying goal and perhaps earning an overtime win, so they’re justified in entering Game Four confident in their style of play.

One key factor the Penguins must address is the play of Evgeni Malkin. The Russian superstar has been excellent for Pittsburgh all season, when healthy, and has indeed looked dangerous during the team’s current playoff series, but his play isn’t translating to success on the scoreboard.

Through 3 games, Malkin has recorded zero points and currently has a -1 rating. He failed to register a single shot in Game Three, despite playing the most minutes of any Pens forward (20:53).

Pittsburgh has seen Sidney Crosby come back to life in the series – the captain has two goals and one assist through the first three games – but if there’s any chance of them moving past the first round, they’ll need their second offensive pillar firing on all cylinders as well.

The Pens and Rangers will meet for Game Four in Pittsburgh on April 22nd.

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